Cheat Sheet on Indian Weddings for Priyanka’s Pardesi Baraatis
Dear Nick ‘Jiju’ (that’s ‘brother-in-law’ for our international audience!),
We hope you are enjoying our warm Indian hospitality. By now, you can probably make out the difference between a bandhgala and a sherwani! We love how ‘desi-fied’ you’ve been getting in Priyanka’s company, but what about your international guests from all over the world who are flying in for the wedding? Here is a ready reckoner of what your globetrotting guests and foreign ‘baraatis’ (members of a groom’s procession) can expect at your ‘big, fabulous Indian wedding!’
‘Mehndi ka Gehra Rang’ (The deep color of henna): The ultimate love calculator – it is believed the darker the color of the applied mehndi patterns on one’s hand and feet, the stronger the bond. We can almost hear Calvin Harris crooning in the background – ‘How deep is your love…’ Come to think of it, the song will make a perfect addition to your mehndi function’s cross-cultural playlist.
‘Haldi’ (Turmeric): We love facials so much we made it a ceremony! Forget turmeric lattes which are so popular in the US this time of the year. Instead, get smeared with turmeric paste which may probably make you look like you got gently toasted under the Indian winter sun.
Kaleere (Bridal Bangle Ornaments) Ceremony: To all the firangi women, hear those soft jingles? Well, if they fall on you, you just heard your wedding bells!
Sehrabandhi (Groom’s Headdress): Just like beaches call for cool bandanas, Indian weddings call for royal turbans! Also, Nick, if there’s something you want to sing for our desi girl right after this ceremony, here’s a suggestion, ‘Hiriye Sehra Bandh Ke Mai Toh Aaya Re, Hey Ya Doli Baraat Bhee Sath Mein Mai Toh Laya Re!’ You will need Google Translate for that though!
Ghodi Sajana and Ghodi Chadna (Decorating and riding a horse): From getting decked up to being fed by giggling girls, this ceremony is a treat for the horse! Oh, and we forgot to mention, he is also your mode of transport to reach Priyanka!
Baraat (Groom’s procession): A regally dressed horse, an opportunity to freely dance on the road, some uncles waving currency notes to keep the enthusiasm going, and a kid who has absolutely no idea of what’s going on sitting in front of the groom – that’s a traditional baraat for you! We can’t wait to see if you will do things differently!
Joota Chupai (Hiding Shoes Ritual): The groom’s side has to make sure that no one from the bride’s side runs away with the most precious items at the wedding – the groom’s shoes. If they go missing, there’ll be a price to pay – think crisp dollar bills!
Ghunghat (Traditional Indian Veil): Indians take extra precautions for everything. No amount of sunscreen can be enough for the big day so, here’s a fancy veil for the bride to cover her face!
Varmala (Garland): Some couples may think of wedding garlands like floral leashes! At least, there are fragrant!
Sindoor: You’ll spot married women sporting red powder on their forehead but no, they didn’t get their blush wrong, this is just an Indian ritual.
Also, if you ever question its importance, be prepared to here, “Ek chutki sindoor ki queemat tum kyo jano Nick babu!”
Saat Phere: Enjoyed playing ringa ringa roses during childhood? Here’s the adult version of it, with the only difference being, you don’t sing, the pandit does.
Bidaai (Farewell for the bride): We can see it all happening – the dramatic and grand goodbye of the bride where tears fall, waterproof makeup is put to the test, and tissues are passed around.
Shaadi Ke Laddoo (Wedding sweets): Sweet Indian delicacies dished out at a wedding. Some say, these are the main reasons why people attend weddings. Well, that and the cake, of course.
Suhagraat: We’re great at predicting the future! You know what’s awaiting you right after the hectic wedding spell? You’ll walk into two towel origami swans making out with each other!